Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 16 Picks

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ Seattle
  • Prospects: Uh-oh. The Chiefs won and the other three AFC division leaders all lost, meaning not only could the Chiefs lock up the AFC West with a Thursday-night win over the Chargers, they would need only one loss each by the Patriots and Texans to sew up the #1 seed before Sunday night. For much of the season, particularly the last few weeks, it looked like how much these two teams still had to play for would outweigh the lack of market size and chance for the Seahawks to catch the Rams for the division compared to Eagles-Rams the previous week, but now this game looks to be in some real danger.
  • Likely protections: Steelers-Saints (CBS, confirmed) and probably nothing, but if something, Bucs-Cowboys or Vikings-Lions (FOX). (This assumes Fox couldn’t protect any of the games singled out for a potential move to Saturday before the season.)
  • Other possible games mentioned on last week’s Watch and their records: Texans (9-4)-Eagles (6-7), Bucs (5-8)-Cowboys (8-5).
  • Impact of Monday Night Football: It would really help the tentative for the Seahawks to win and keep the game from getting further lopsided. A Seahawks loss would make the game more lopsided than Texans-Eagles while putting the Seahawks only a game ahead of the Eagles.
  • Analysis: The biggest point in the tentative’s favor has always been the lack of viable alternatives; the strongest game on paper, Texans-Eagles, is only even a viable option if I’ve been wrong about the London game maxing the Eagles out on primetime appearances, and the second choice, Bucs-Cowboys, may well have been protected. Both games involve teams below .500, and the Bucs’ loss might foreclose them being any sort of real factor in the playoff race (were it not for the Lions they’d be losing a tiebreaker to the freaking Giants whose season was thought to be a disaster); meanwhile the Cowboys need only one win or losses by both Philadelphia and Washington to clinch the NFC East, and while they could catch the Bears for the three seed, nonetheless they might end up not having much more to play for than the Chiefs. Texans-Eagles remains a real concern, though. Even with the Chiefs potentially having nothing to play for, it’d be hard to justify flexing out Chiefs-Seahawks for a game with teams each two games worse than their respective teams in the tentative and where the better team is only a game better than the tentative’s worse team, but if the Seahawks lose? The league would have to seriously think about it… if it weren’t for the possibility that the Eagles’ Week 17 trip to the nation’s capital could decide a wild card spot, potentially conditional on the result of the Texans-Eagles game. Even then, though, I’m not sure the league would be thinking that far ahead, or if they are that it’d be worth the risk of putting on a Chiefs team already resting for the playoffs.
  • Final prediction: Houston Texans @ Philadelphia Eagles (if the Eagles aren’t maxed out on primetime appearances and the Seahawks lose tonight), Kansas City Chiefs @ Seattle Seahawks (no change) (if either of those scenarios doesn’t hold up).
  • Actual selection: Kansas City Chiefs @ Seattle Seahawks (no change). This doesn’t necessarily mean the Eagles are maxed out after all; besides the Week 17 scheduling considerations I already mentioned, Chiefs-Seahawks might have to go to the late game of the CBS doubleheader, where Steelers-Saints is already supposed to be the showcase game and Chiefs-Seahawks would take away from that by being another matchup between playoff teams.

11 thoughts on “Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 16 Picks”

  1. This did not surprise me. Seahawks are on a roll, only risk now is they will be locked into the 5 seed by the time this game kicks off.

  2. You have to wonder if on Thursday we will see another round of accusations on the refs if the Chargers win, especially since a Chiefs win on Thursday means the #1 seed could be clinched before the game with the Seahawks kicks off.

  3. Not much surprised by the lack of any changes to the Week 16 schedule. Week 17 is looking like a mess. Will talk more about that later.

  4. 1) I am really surprised at your analysis. KC vs Seattle is looking to be a ratings bonanza.
    Even if KC had wrapped up the #1 seed they are still going to be playing week 16 to win.
    Mahomes looks to be a star the league wants to showcase.
    2) And London games are not considered primetime.
    3) Strongest game on paper is not Hou-Philly.
    4) Why would Vikings vs Lions game be protected (or Bucs vs Cowboys for that matter).

  5. Karl:

    As said, the risk with Chiefs-Seahawks is both teams are locked into their playoff positions before kickoff. The NFL I’m sure is praying the Chargers beat the Chiefs on Thursday as that would assure that game having meaning regardless of what happens elsewhere. Especially if the Vikings lose this week, it is actually possible for the Seahawks with a win to wrap up the 5 seed this week, since the Eagles, Redskins and Panthers all have games they could lose this week.

    The NFL ought to consider using the six-day flex rule for Week 16 as well as Week 17 (or as I would do it beginning next year what becomes Week 17 with a new Week 18 having ALL games in a conference simultaneously and divided between ALL the broadcast partners) because situations like this can happen.

  6. Let’s start guessing which Networks will get which wildcard games and when. I say Dallas hosts the prime-time Saturday night game. And pencil the Bears in for the early Sunday morning game 10 a.m. West coast time at least. Chargers at Houston for the Sunday afternoon game and that leaves Pittsburgh Baltimore for the early Saturday game.

  7. Otherwise give Pittsburgh Baltimore winner the Saturday night home game with Dallas hosting the late Sunday afternoon game in a ratings Bonanza for Fox.

  8. Walt
    Nobody will be resting players Week 16.
    KC-Seattle a few weeks ago looked like a poor matchup, but now is great for SNF.

    Cannon: don’t be too sure Pitts-Balt will make playoffs.
    I would think @ Houston will be early Sat game.

  9. Dallas would for sure be the late afternoon game on Sunday if they’re playing Wild-Card weekend. Beyond that and the Patriots always getting scheduled for Saturday night on Divisional weekend, though, there never seems to much rhyme or reason to the scheduling of the first two playoff weekends.

  10. Here’s my current rankings for the Week 17 SNF game.

    #1—Ind(7-6) @ Tenn(7-6)
    #2—Chi(9-4) @ Minn(6-6-1)

    These are the only matchups with both teams sporting .500 or better winning percentage. However, my #1 has problems because of Miami and Baltimore also currently 7-6. My #2 has problems with Bears perhaps needing to play when the Cowboys do, but more importantly, the Vikings are only 1/2 game up on Carolina, Philadelphia, & Washington. I expect the Redskins to fade, but Minny will likely have to play at same time as at least 1 of the above teams.

    Atlanta @ Tampa Bay—no
    Carolina @ New Orleans—no
    Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh—likely not
    Cleveland @ Baltimore—doubt it, but would be interesting if Browns win this week
    Dallas @ Giants—has a chance, maybe
    Detroit @ Green Bay—could be the best alternative if they insist on their being a SNF game
    Jacksonville @ Houston—nah
    Miami @ Buffalo—Josh Allen is fun to watch
    NY Jets @ NE—no
    Oakland @ Kansas City—nope
    Philadelphia @ Washington—a miracle to sneak in
    Arizona @ Seattle—Arizona sucks
    LA Chargers @ Denver—game would have been highly ranked by me had Broncos not blown last week to the Niners
    San Francisco @ LA Rams—uh, no

    No Sunday Night Football game(again)—getting more likely, but we’ll see what Week 15 brings.

    Might be time to ditch the all-division matchups for Week 17, as we speculated on last year after there was no SNF game.

    Feel free to comment on my post.

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